You have a crack in your foundation. And as if that’s not bad enough, water is seeping through it. Cracks are a headache on their own, but leaks are a whole other story. What’s a homeowner to do?
Hydraulic cement is often proposed as a DIY solution for this sort of basement foundation repair. In fact, it’s incredibly popular on the market. But how do you know if it’s effective? Is it reliable?
The answer is: it depends. But don’t worry… we’re here to set the record straight.
What is hydraulic cement?
Hydraulic cement is a repair material made of cement and other additives that keep it from shrinking like normal cement. It’s used to patch leaks in concrete and masonry, and is designed to do so instantly—meaning hydraulic cement sets extremely quickly.
When should you use hydraulic cement?
Hydraulic cement is best used as a quick, easy, and cost-effective solution to patch small leaks (think leaks surrounding a water pipe coming out of your basement wall). Due to its ability to set quickly—usually within 3-5 minutes of being mixed with water—it is a great DIY method for homeowners to prevent further water damage and leakage issues.
However, you’ll want to consult with a foundation repair expert first. Why? Because there are times when hydraulic cement is not the answer.
When shouldn’t you use hydraulic cement?
This is not an ideal solution for large structural damage. Any cracks throughout interior walls, around windows or in brick can be indicative of structural damage. For these types of cracks, hydraulic cement won’t fix the core problem, which is your home’s foundation. If your crack is the cause of structural damage, you’ll need a foundation expert to do the repair.
That’s why in the case of suspected damage, it’s best to call an expert for inspection before choosing a repair method.
Why you shouldn’t use hydraulic cement for foundation repair?
Hydraulic cement doesn’t bond well and is rigid, meaning further structural movement in your foundation will simply cause the cement to crack and leak again. Hydraulic cement also doesn’t reach the outside of the crack; instead, it simply patches the surface. Your cracks are likely the cause of a foundation problem, so any temporary solutions like hydraulic cement will only compound the issue.
Hydraulic cement can be an effective leak-patching solution when used correctly and in the right situation. Remember: hydraulic cement is not for large foundation repairs, and structural repairs require the expertise of a qualified foundation professional.
If you have further questions about your foundation repair, don’t hesitate to contact us!